Books

Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

The Hunger Wall

by James Ragan

“James Ragan’s poems are full of arresting collocations and striking phrases. Sometimes the latter are mysterious, and sometimes (as in “the mimosa breathing the wind’s still spirit”) they take a fresh look at some aspect of the world. “Audienea,” from which I have just quoted, is one of the most satisfying poems in this distinctive book.” –Richard Wilbur

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 128
  • Publication Date September 17, 1996
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-3478-3
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $11.00

About The Book

In 1992, critically acclaimed poet James Ragan was in Los Angeles when riots exploded across racial and class lines. That same year he was also living in Prague when Czechoslovakia divided into two separate nations, motivated by the principles of “nationalism.” This odd coincidence forms the crux of his new, eagerly anticipated book of poetry.

The poems in The Hunger Wall, named for a wall near the Prague Castle, take these two cultural sensibilities that seem worlds apart and explore the subtle nuances of their unlikely similarities. In beautifully crafted and metaphorically rich language, Ragan studies what it means to set a “border,” whether it be political, racial, or economic. The Hunger Wall examines a continually changing world—a world of shifting cultural identities in which the widening gap between the rich and the poor is dangerously explosive.

Praise

“James Ragan’s poems are full of arresting collocations and striking phrases. Sometimes the latter are mysterious, and sometimes (as in “the mimosa breathing the wind’s still spirit”) they take a fresh look at some aspect of the world. “Audienea,” from which I have just quoted, is one of the most satisfying poems in this distinctive book.” –Richard Wilbur

“In present-day poetry, few things are more anticipated than this book by a poet who dominates the art of image, the art of poetic line, and the art of poetic narration to the level where the poems form a permanent stream of revelations.” –Miroslav Holub

“These poems seek the core of feeling in the intertwined personal and political dramas of eastern Europe and southern California. They walk carefully in a hardbitten time, recording the lives and places that tell of the struggle between beauty and evil, and of the rage for identity in this near-millennial period. Here is the lush lyricism of a hungry eye and an open heart.” –Marvin Bell

“A testament to universal brotherhood, a celebration. He is my brother.

” –Yevgeny Yevtushenko

“James Ragan’s poetry lights the passage to the larger world of global citizenship.” –William Matthews

“In Jim Ragan’s poetry, there is a lyrical fusing of innocence and wisdom. It is this juxtaposition that makes his work so exhilarating.” –Studs Terkel

“James Ragan’s poetry is splendidly candid, original, energized, connected to the real world, honed, humane, connected to a series of finely articulated voices, full of nuances, of music, of idioms he’s heard and invented.” –Michael S. Harper